‘Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity’ – Voltaire
I couldn’t agree with Voltaire more; I love food and the pleasure that it brings. In fact dining and indulging in French cuisine is one of my most favourite things to do in Paris. A day spent wandering through Parisian streets, exploring and experiencing all that Paris has to offer, is made even better by enjoying a delicious meal at one of its many bistros, brasseries, restaurants and cafés. Paris is literally full of them. The French take their food very seriously and it certainly shows. There is something so luxurious about just being there, in the moment, soaking up the amazing atmosphere that only belongs to Paris. A time to sit and recharge, to watch the world go by, relaxing and anticipating the delights and decadence of the dishes to come.
On an incredibly hot summer day in July, I found myself walking down rue Saint-Honoré in the heart of the 1st arrondissement, on my way to explore some of Paris’s famous covered passages. In need of a well deserved rest from hours of flanneuring, I decided to take a break and have some lunch first.
Before I start, let me put this into perspective, when visiting Paris I eat all of my meals out. That’s breakfast, lunch AND dinner… maybe even (very possibly…..OK…..more than likely…..OK definitely), a pastry and a coffee in the afternoon. I always stay in hotels and don’t have any use for a kitchen. When I’m on holidays, you certainly won’t find me cooking. It gives me an excuse to take every self indulgent opportunity to enjoy as many culinary delights that I can. You can’t count calories in Paris, there’s plenty of time for that at home. I make a point of finding different places to try and rarely eat at the same place twice, unless it’s exceptionally good. Now that adds up to a lot of different restaurants and I’ve decided to only write about Café Plume….that’s how good it is!
As soon as I was seated, I started to take in my surroundings. The first thing I noticed was that it was gorgeously eclectic in that perfectly French way. A bookshelf behind me housed various old books and knick knacks and the ornate chandelier complemented the stunning black and white tiled floors and wonderfully wallpapered walls. Even the menu itself was unusual and quirky, bound by a wooden rod reminiscent of a wand. Café Plume is a charming mix of old and new that evokes interest and a sense of homeliness with a touch of glamour thrown into the mix.
Now for the really important bit, the food! It was so hard to choose what to order; everything on the menu looked equally and wonderfully appetising. I am a sucker for chicken and creamy sauces so I stayed true to myself and ordered Le Paillard de Poulet – a delicious chicken dish with a creamy ginger sauce, onions and fresh coriander served with a smooth and buttery mashed potato. Every morsel was a sheer delight to be savoured. The flavours were so divine, rich and sumptuous that even though the serving size was generous, I didn’t want it to end.
Another thing I am a sucker for is dessert. You can imagine the dilemma I found myself in when I literally could not decide between the range of famous Berthillon ice-creams on offer and one of my all time favourites, salted caramel cheesecake! I decided to ask an expert’s opinion and questioned my friendly server on such an important decision. She didn’t hesitate for a second and replied in her charming French accent, ‘Without a doubt, the cheesecake. It is truly something special.’ Well, that was it! The cheesecake it was to be! Let me tell you that she wasn’t wrong. I have never had a cheesecake as good as this, ever…period! The texture of the filling was a cross between whipped cream and ice-cream, balanced with perfectly rich, smooth, salted caramel. The word the comes to mind to describe it would be none other than heavenly! It’s probably a good thing that I only discovered this wonderful restaurant on my last day in Paris or I may not have ever ventured away from the table.
I now have a new favourite place to dine in Paris and I will definitely be a regular here on each future trip, happily breaking my ‘don’t eat anywhere twice’ rule. I’m still daydreaming about the meal I had there and I have been back home for well over a month now. Trust me, do yourself a favour and give it a try, you’ll be glad you did.
I’m sure if Voltaire was still alive, he would have been sitting at the table right next to mine enjoying such a pleasurable necessity right there with me!
Café Plume – 164 rue Saint-Honoré, 75001
Bisous de Paris 💋